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Chemistry research: invest for rewards.

A survey of chemistry -- billed as the first comprehensive examination of the field in 20 years--recommends a doubling of federal funding of basic chemical research. The National Academy of Sciences report, based on contributions by 350 research chemists, describes "the many remarkable developments" that have resulted from recent chemical investigations. "Their report shows that chemistry is a central science that provides fundamental understanding needed to deal with most of society's needs," says George C. Pimentel, chair of the survey committee and a chemist at the University of California at Berkeley.

The report describes intellectual and practical opportunities that are now open to chemistry. These include new catalytic processes and products, environmentally safe agricultural products and new deliberately designed drugs. These opportunities stem from an array of powerful instruments, including lasers, computers and nuclear magnetic resonance. X-ray and mass spectrometers. The report also notes that the U.S. chemical industry employs more than 1 million people, and more than 20 percent of the gross national product is related to chemical catalysis alone.

"The current federal investment," Pimentel says, "is rooted in a funding pattern appropriate to a test tube and bunsen burner era that no longer exists."
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Title Annotation:report recommends doubling federal aid for research
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 26, 1985
Words:196
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